The Cloud to roar with world’s best kapa haka for Matariki

By Leo Horgan

The Cloud is set to reverberate with waiata next Saturday as kapa haka royalty hits the stage to celebrate Matariki Festival 2017 at Te Taumata Kapa Haka.

Featuring five of the New Zealand’s top nine teams from Te Matatini 2017 including the winner and runner-up, the showcase is a chance for those who missed out on Te Matatini to see the competition’s best kapa.

Te Matatini Board Chair, Selwyn Parata says, “for the first time ever outside Te Matatini competition the top teams in the country will perform together under one roof.

“It’s our opportunity to showcase the best of kapa haka to an international audience on our own turf. We’re proud and delighted to bring the thrill of kapa haka performance to this year’s Matariki Festival.”

This year’s winner Te Kapa Haka o Whāngārā-Mai-Tawhiti have long been associated with Māori performing arts.

Hailing from Whāngārā, the heart of whale rider country, group leader Derek Lardelli wrote Kapa o Pango, a haka written specifically for the All Blacks and performed for the first time in 2005 before the Tri Nations test against South Africa.  

Keeping with the sporting theme, another of their performers Ora Kihi is cultural advisor to the Chiefs and the Kiwi league team. The group won this year’s competition with a performance that included lyrics in te reo set to music from the Moana film soundtrack.

They are joined by four more of the top kapa haka groups in the country: Te Waka Huia, Te Mātārae i Ōrehu, Ngā Tūmanako, Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau-ā-Apanui along with 2017 Auckland Polyfest winners Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi.

“Te Taumata kapa haka is a wonderful chance to appreciate the beauty of Māori performance during Māori New Year celebrations from the best of the best,” says Councillor Cathy Casey.

“This free family event is also a great way to stir up Kiwi pride ahead of the All Blacks-Lions test match in the heart of the fan zone.”

Te Taumata Kapa Haka will take place from midday Saturday 1 July on the Auckland waterfront at the The Cloud, Queens Wharf. For more information, click here.